I’m writing this at the end of my three-week shadowing experience. Just over one month since I walked into the Holborn office for my first day at Capgemini, and it has been a great journey so far!
I joined Capgemini as part of the Consulting Development Community (CDC) among an intake of 10 fellow graduates. After two weeks of intense induction training on everything you need to know about life as a consultant – from key consulting tools and skills to how to manage a meeting effectively – I was given the opportunity to shadow on a project with a major European retailer for a week. Shadowing is an incredible learning mechanism because it allows you the chance, right at the very beginning of your career, to sit alongside your colleagues and observe the way they work and interact collaboratively with clients.
Excited, eager and nervous – these are the three words that best describe how I felt before I started. Walking into the office with all those feelings swirling around inside my head, I was surprised by how helpful the team was. From showing me where the best coffee shop was to inviting me to meetings with clients, within the first days I was already feeling so integrated that it seemed I had been part of that team for months!
One of the things I remember a senior member of Capgemini saying is that no two days in consulting are ever the same; and it did not take long for me to realise how true that is. Variety is a given that you can most certainly expect from the consulting lifestyle – one day I was assisting with business process definitions, in the next supporting workshop design and facilitation. In such a short period of time I found myself assisting with a broad series of activities that range from reviewing business requirements and preparing slides for presentations to actively engaging with some of the key project stakeholders.
Following that, I embarked on my second shadowing opportunity: two weeks assisting with process mapping and workshop facilitation at a UK payday loan lender. The time on this engagement was largely spent analysing, reviewing and looking into ways of optimising the existing end-to-end processes. I had the opportunity to sit alongside a senior member of the team who coached me all the way through and the highlight of this experience was being able to collaborate in a meeting with the client, helping to guide them through the processes I had designed.
What amazed me was the non-hierarchical structure of both projects, which meant I was given responsibilities and autonomy right from the beginning but also felt thoroughly supported by the entire team. In fact, one of things I appreciate the most about the culture at Capgemini is the level of support available – they really do live up to their core value of great team spirit. You soon realise that people are always eager to help and I can certainly attest that I have felt this all the way through both my engagements so far.
In retrospect, I now realise just how intense the past few weeks have been and how much I have learnt – both from the clients and from the Capgemini teams. It has always felt like that since my very first day on the CDC, being in a continuous thrilling steep learning curve. And I cannot wait for my first project to start!